Mentoring Apiary

Mentoring Apiary Banner


All Extension in-person meetings, events, and classes are cancelled until June 30. Please check the class description for updates or email for more information.

We are offering a series of free webinars this spring!  Please email for more information or to register:
Saturday, March 28 from 10:00-11:00am  "Colony Autopsy: Why Did My Bees Die?"
Thursday, April 9 from 6:00-7:00pm "Hiving New Packages"
Thursday, April 23 from 6:00-7:00pm "Checking New Packages and Overwintered Colonies"
Saturday, April 25 from 10:00-11:00am "Preparing for Divides"
Thursday, May 7 from 6:00-7:00pm "Dividing Overwintered Hives"

Mentoring Apiary Program

The best way to learn successful beekeeping skills is through hands-on mentoring from experienced beekeepers.  Without beekeeping mentorship, new beekeepers often experience avoidable challenges resulting in colony death. The University of Minnesota Bee Squad’s Mentoring Apiary Program provides invaluable learning opportunities for beekeepers of all experience levels.

Download our brochure

Gloveless beekeeping: One of the core tenets of the Bee Squad’s beekeeping philosophy is to enter colonies without wearing gloves.  This allows the beekeeper to have the dexterity and sensory feedback to handle frames and bee boxes in a way that minimizes harm and disruption to the bees.  For the safety of all students and instructors, we require that all participants do not wear gloves in our teaching apiaries.  We believe that the ability to manage a hive of honey bees calmly and confidently under a wide range of conditions is one of the most important skills gained from our program.  Please feel free to contact us with questions prior to registration or attending class!


Intro to Beekeeping SeriesIntro to beekeeping logo

COVID-19 UPDATE: The April, May, and June classes will be held as live online seminars and discussion groups.

Are you new to beekeeping?

Please join us for a series of 7 monthly classes that will cover your first year of beekeeping.  This series is ideal for people who have taken the Beekeeping in Northern Climates Year 1 short course and want hands-on experience before acquiring their own bees and for new beekeepers who want to learn about colony management throughout the beekeeping season.

This class will be held at the Bee Lab.  Each class will begin with a presentation and discussion in the classroom, followed by hands-on training in the apiary.

Detailed course description and registration

The Successful Beekeeper Series

COVID-19 UPDATE: The April, May, and June classes will be held as live online seminars and discussion groups.

Successful Beekeeper Logo

This series of 7 classes covers the management of hives in their 2nd year and beyond.  Curriculum will build off of the information covered in the Beekeeping in Northern Climates Year 2 short course.  We will review the fundamentals of hive inspection and delve deeper into topics such as:

·        Assessing the strength of overwintered colonies

·        Performing spring divides

·        Evaluating queens and deciding when and how to re-queen

·        Sustainable apiary growth

·        Understanding the relationship between apiary location and pest management

·        Varroa mite population dynamics and management strategies

 This class will be held at the St. Paul campus Mentoring Apiary and be primarily in-hive.

Detailed course description and registration here

Buzz Pass Drop-In ClassesBuzz Pass logo

COVID-19 UPDATE: The classes at Noerenberg Apiary on April 27, May 18, and June 29 have been cancelled.  The classes at the St. Paul campus Apiary on March 19, March 21, April 9, April 23, April 25, and May 7 have been cancelled.  Starting on May 21, Buzz Pass classes will resume as online live webinars until we are allowed to continue in-person instruction in the apiary.  Please check back for updates!

Would you like to improve your beekeeping skills or learn more about specific topics?

We are offering one-hour drop-in classes  on the St. Paul campus and at the Noerenberg Mentoring Apiary in Orono.  These hands-on classes will allow us to focus on the seasonal needs of hives in Minnesota.  When you purchase a Buzz Pass, you can choose classes to take based on issues you are facing in your own hives, questions you may have, or curiosity about specific topics. After signing up for a Buzz Pass, you will receive email updates about the focus of upcoming classes.  

Follow us on Facebook for updates!

Download a printable schedule

We encourage students to take multiple classes throughout the season!

Detailed course description and registration

Rochester Mentoring Apiary

COVID-19 UPDATE: Registration for 2020 Rochester Mentoring Apiary classes has been suspended.  We encourage beekeepers to sign up for the classes listed above to participate in online mentoring.  Please email for more information.

Detailed course description and registration

Class locations

University of Minnesota Bee Lab

1634 Gortner Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55113

Please use paid parking at metered spots on Gortner and Folwell Avenue, or park in the Gortner Avenue Ramp.


St. Paul Mentoring Apiary

2096 Roselawn Avenue W, St. Paul, MN 55113

Free parking available in the Turf Management Center parking lot.


Noerenberg Mentoring Apiary

2840 North Shore Drive, Orono, MN 55356

Located across the road from Noerenberg Memorial Gardens.  Free parking available along the gravel road that leads to the apiary.


Rochester Mentoring Apiary

701 Silver Creek Road NE, Rochester, MN 55906

Held at Quarry Hill Nature Center.  Free parking available in the nature center parking lot.


For class updates, please sign up for the Mentoring Apiary bulletin or follow the UMN Bee Squad Mentoring Apiary on Facebook.


Beekeeper Hands-on training